'Lonesome Town: The Complete Record Releases 1957-1959'
Label: Fantastic Voyage FVTD056
Total Playing Time: 215.26 minutes
I'm Walkin'/A Teenager's Romance/You're My One And Only Love/Be-Bop Baby/Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/Honeycomb/Boppin' The Blues/Be-Bop Baby (album version)/Have I Told You Lately That I Love You (album version)/Teenage Doll/If You Can't Rock Me/Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/Baby I'm Sorry/Am I Blue/I'm Confessin'/Your True Love/True Love/Stood Up/Waitin' In School/Shirley Lee/Someday/Good Rockin' Tonight/I'm Feelin' Sorry/Down The Line/Unchained Melody/I'm In Love Again/Don't Leave Me This Way/My Babe/I'll Walk Alone/There Goes My Baby/Poor Little Fool/Believe What You Say/My Bucket's Got A Hole In It/I Got A Feeling/It's Late/One Of These Mornings/Believe What You Say (album version)/Lonesome Town/Tryin' To Get To You/Be True To Me/Old Enough To Love/Never Be Anyone Else But You/I Can't Help It/You Tear Mr Up/It's All In The Game/Restless Kid/You'll Never Know What You're Missing/That's All/Just A Little Too Much/One Minute to One/That's All/Just A Little Too Much/One Minute To One/Half Breed/You're So Fine/Don't Leave Me/Sweeter Than You/A Long Vacation/o Long/Blood From A Stone/I've Been Thinkin'/I Wanna Be Loved/Mighty Good/My Rifle, My Pony And Me

This most tasty compilation is a three CD set. The first two discs contain a total of sixty one tracks of recordings issued by the late great Ricky Nelson between 1957 and 1959, mainly from the Imperial label but also his first three recordings for Verve Records. Accordingly, this is the cream of his rock 'n' roll recordings. Whilst he went onto make many other fine tracks, this material just has to be the 'cats whiskers' of the tracks he laid down. It contains all of the eighteen US singles chart entries plus every track from his first four albums 'Ricky', Ricky Nelson', 'Ricky Sings Again' and 'Songs By Ricky'. Many of the titles will be well known to anyone with rock 'n' roll blood coursing through their veins but this set also includes some of the unjustly overlooked recordings. For example, 'You Tear Me Up' which rocks away tastily, 'You're So Fine' which has a tremendous rockabilly backing, 'A Long Vacation' complete with its Bo Diddley beat and the haunting 'I Wanna Be Loved' which I believe was scheduled to be the main side when released but then got overtaken by the flip 'Mighty Good'. As will be seen, there are both album and singles versions of songs included where they differed apart from the title song 'Lonesome Town'. There is a first rate blend of rockers, ballads and teen beat material.

However, where this set really differs from what has gone before is the content of the third disc, a previously unreleased interview with Ricky that runs for just over 78 minutes. In this, the interviewer and Ricky explore his career from the very early days through to his later journey into country and country rock. For example Ricky states the reason for switching from Verve after selling a million with his first release 'I'm Walkin' was that he did not get paid or a gold disc. All in all, the content fascinating stuff.

Accordingly, this release is a must for anyone who has a liking for the music and history of one of the true icons of rock 'n' roll - Ricky Nelson.

Tony Wilkinson
January 2010.

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